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WJ UK attend BDA Seminar at Old Trafford

WJ UK were delighted to exhibit at the latest BDA Seminar on “What are the risks of Rising Complacency about Geotechnics” at Old Trafford, Manchester.

On Weds 26th Feb, we were excited to join a whole host of other exhibitors in the Trafford Suite at the famous Old Trafford stadium in Manchester – home of a certain football team.

The purpose of the seminar put on by the BDA, was to explore the subject of risks of rising complacency about geotechnics. With technologies becoming more and more intelligent, and therefore old processes are being replaced. While this could save time, it could also have a detrimental effect by causing complacency across the sector.

WJ UK's stand at the BDA Seminar at Old Trafford in Manchester

After some mingling, it was time to sit down and hear about what the afternoon entailed. WJ’s Managing Director and BDA Vice-Chair, Richard Fielden, was the man on the mic for the event, and following his short introduction, he passed the proceedings on to BDA Executive Secretary, Keith Banton.

Keith has been executive secretary at the BDA since 2014 and is a vital cog in the machine. A little background on the BDA, having formed in 1976, it’s their job to look after the needs of the land drilling and geotechnical sectors. Some of the aims of the British Drilling Association are:

The British Drilling Association is committed to excellence
  • To improve health and safety, efficiency and standards in the industry
  • To promote industry skills, and to train and educate those within the industry
  • To collaborate with other related associations to advance and promote our industry
  • Liaise with governing bodies and institutions and establish and improve codes of practice

The speakers on the agenda were of very high quality, each able to bring a different perspective to the question of the day.

Jane Collins from Arup was up first, speaking from her 30 (or was it 35 years?!) of experience in the construction industry, she was able to paint a picture around client motivations, and what really bothers them. This talk summed up perfectly the difference between construction in the past, to construction now, and how the industry has overcome some major hurdles.

We were lucky to have Catherine McGrath from Highways England covering the hot topic about how GI’s were procured by HE, all while tiptoeing around some more sensitive information which was sadly too early to share. It was great to hear from herself about how Highways England have an open forum for tenders, giving all companies a level playing field.

Jake Morris, joined by Dr. Leigh Sharpe, presented a thought-provoking slideshow on the works carried out by The Coal Authority. He made clear the risks of working around coal mines and previously mined sites, and also outlined the process for permit requests and updates to their offering.

BDA Vice Chair, Richard Fielden speaking to Jake Morris from The Coal Authority
BDA Vice Chair, Richard Fielden speaking to Jake Morris from The Coal Authority

Following this, it was time to recharge the batteries with tea, coffee and cakes, and a chance to enjoy the spectacular backdrop that was the Theatre of Dreams. Did you know, Old Trafford was the only club ground in England to receive the prestigious UEFA 5 Star Stadium status? UEFA have now scrapped the 5-star categories, opting for 4 stars as the max, and are no longer publishing stadium lists – but we’re sure OT will be on there!

First on stage after the break was Prof. John Reynolds from Reynolds International. For all those who know him will be aware of how great his voice is for this type of event! John took the audience through the power of combining geophysical and geotechnical information in ground investigations, land and marine.

AECOM’s Patrick Cox was up next, and it was interesting to see him use the same case studies as Jane Collins from Arup, meaning we got to hear two different perspectives on these projects. Patrick was speaking about managing ground risk in major infrastructure projects – procurement of site investigation.

Last but by no means least was Jonathon Gammon from Geo Observations. With the job of closing out the speakers, you could argue he had the most important role! With people’s minds on the drinks and canapés which were following, Jonathon delivered a great presentation on “From ground investigation to whole-life operation: The risks without instrumentation and monitoring”.

Overall, the BDA seminar was a positive day, with lots to take away and discuss, and it was great to be able to network with other companies within the industry, learning a little bit more about how they’re evolving their processes and equipment.

Emma TrillWJ UK attend BDA Seminar at Old Trafford
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